Do you know how to get the best profitability from the photos of your products from your online store?
If you are thinking of having your virtual store, or you already have one and you want to improve its performance through an aesthetic and professional interface, I suggest that you pay special attention to the quality of the images of your products.
This is valid if you sell self-made articles, since if you resell third-party products, your supplier will surely give you the images to publish in your store, and you would not have to deal with that.
The client is the one who chooses you
If you are a wholesale manufacturer and you sell your products to third parties, and they want to publish them in their own stores or social networks, the images that you provide must be of very good quality.
Otherwise they will not accept them or they will not buy from you, since they themselves will have to re-photograph your products to publish them on their platforms, and thus maintain the quality with which they are shown to the public, and that means double work and more unnecessary investment.
You must think that there are other providers that offer them the images ready to use and therefore, they will choose them.
That is why having good images helps a lot to make your website profitable by generating better income, but it also speaks of having respect, towards your business and towards your clients.
That's what the internet and networks are all about, connecting and expanding, and you will never know where your images end, but wherever they end it is sure that they will continue to talk about you and your business, so make sure they are good.
Good images to improve profitability
The photos of your online store fulfill the same role as the window and the windows of your commercial premises: Attract customers!
If there is nothing attractive about your store, customers will look for another site that catches their eye.
Never forget that your website, your store and your images speak of you and your business, when you are not there to do it in person.
A popular phrase is valid here: «How they see you they treat you. If they see you badly they mistreat you and if they see you good they hire you »
Image is a fundamental and predetermining factor for success in the world of electronic commerce.
Photography is an art, and art is a work done by an artist, everything else will be attempts full of good intentions and a desire to save money.
Always look for the gaze of an artist to face your projects, they know how to see what others can.
Monetize your online store
The main function of an online store is to allow you to sell your products automatically, but above all, to generate economic income, and therefore it must be profitable.
All the elements of your store should be oriented to that: to sell, to make money and to get new customers.
Your online store may have a very good design, but the photos represent more than 80% of the success so that a user is interested in knowing more about the product you offer.
A good image will lead you to click and see more details, and finally make the decision to buy.
Here are phrases such as "The first impression that counts", "Everything enters through the eyes", "A picture is worth a thousand words" and "Even though it is dressed in silk, it looks cute!"
If the image is of poor quality, the customer will not be interested in it no matter how excellent the product is, and will surely find the same product shown in a better way in the competition and will feel more comfortable and reliable to buy it.
Lack or abundance?
Do not consider design and photography costs as expendable expenses, but as an investment, since they contribute to the solid and professional construction of your online business, and you will see it monetized in successful sales in the short or medium term future.
Do not imagine your online business from lack, but from abundance. People do not choose the lacking, the mediocre, the lukewarm, or the losers.
So do not think that this is not a good time to invest, that you are not selling or billing, that the budget is not enough, that the economic crisis, that people are not buying ...
People buy, they just don't buy from you but from your competition, who long ago decided to expand and invest in growth
Therefore, think better of investing to be able to get out of where you find yourself stuck, to sell more and better, to reach more people, and that this investment will take you out of your current state of lack.
That is what the Law of Universal Attraction is about: what you ask for you get, on the other hand if you decide to settle in the constant complaint and lack, you will get only that ...
Play and learn to sell online
I propose you to play subjectivity.
Throughout this article I am going to show you examples with real photos obtained from online stores of the sellers themselves on the web, so that you can evaluate and sharpen your perception and subjectivity.
I suggest you play that you are a buyer and you choose which products you would buy and which you would not, and above all, how do you imagine the seller of those products: their reliability, their commercial premises, their appearance, their character ...
It is just an imaginary game and nothing more than that, take it as such.
Do not stop at the quality of the products, but observe the lighting of the images, the composition, the frames, the cutouts, the environment, the setting, the background ... in short, see what each photo says or suggests.
What is your first impression? What sensations do they produce?
Different looks, different results
The following images show very similar products from the same commercial category, and from the same country (Argentina) but from different vendors, and therefore they are competitors among themselves.
All are shown as they were downloaded from the respective websites and social networks of their sellers. They have not been digitally retouched or corrected, therefore, this is the way they have decided to face the challenge of selling their products online.
Now that you have observed them, I invite you to reflect that, just as you could imagine these sellers without knowing them, your buyers will imagine you, just by looking at the photos of your products, since you will not be there physically to convince them of something else.
They don't know you, they never spoke to you, they don't know about your experience in the market or the quality of your products. They only see your only cover letter: your online store and your photos.
From this, they decide whether they are interested or not.
Believe or not believe
Never forget that your store must be aesthetically pleasing and credible and professional.
In this case, the homemade and amateur does not work, and it can generate disinterest or mistrust in the potential buyer.
Behind a product for sale there must be a company or person who supports it, and who responds efficiently and responsibly.
This is where improvised appearances fail, and even more so if there are other similar stores on the web, whose owners decided to approach their business with professionalism, and make quality their main virtue.
A purchase does not end when you click the BUY button. A purchase ends when the customer received the product, tried it, and was satisfied.
If this happens, they will surely buy from you again, save your store in their Favorites and you will have won a new client who will recommend you to others.
If this does not happen ... it is your responsibility and you should rethink your business strategy.
Read my post Everything you need to know to have your online store (Section 2 - Esthetic) for more information
Awake the interest
You must think that customers do not have the possibility to physically see your products, touch, feel, smell, or perceive the textures, sizes, shapes and weight, they cannot even try it on their body, nor do they have you to convince them or advise before buying. They only have one photo on their screen.
It is here where a good image made with professional criteria and vision opens the channel of interest between the buyer and your store.
Surely the first thing the customer sees in a search engine like Google is an image of the product they need to buy, and that image will only take them to the web that contains it if it can arouse their interest.
In addition, that image will be seen in a list among many similar ones, where excellent photos coexist with very bad photos, and you will surely choose the most attractive one.
Buying online is something totally impersonal and subjective, where perceptions, emotions and impulses play a fundamental role when deciding to press the BUY button.
The customer finds himself in a moment of total isolation from the outside world concentrating on his mobile phone, be it at home, at work, in a cafe or in a taxi, and he immediately needs to satisfy his desire to buy.
I want it right now!
Immediacy is a determining factor in the success of online purchases.
A product must be shown in the best possible way, both from the image and from the textual descriptions, so that the customer does not need to ask you additional questions about it.
The simple fact that a buyer asks you a question before buying represents a waiting time for your answer, and the possibility of a cooling down in their desire to buy your product, or that they simply look elsewhere while waiting for your answer.
Therefore, situations that generate doubts or cross-questions must be minimized, through good descriptive texts and excellent photographs.
Surely you are not the only one who sells your types of products, and your competitors have the same desire to sell as you.
Seduce, tempt and persuade
An image must convey the desire to own the product it represents, and that desire implies a choice, a motivation to disburse money, of which not many are willing to give.
That is why the sensations we transmit through the images of our products are very important to seduce the buyer and awaken the interest to buy.
Observe those who know
A good example is the photos of the food business canopies or, those that illustrate the menus of the restaurants.
What do those photos look like? What sensations do they produce? Hungry maybe?
Surely if you buy it, your dish will not be as attractive as the photos, but you already bought it, you will be convinced that it is delicious and you will be satisfied that you have paid for it, and the owner of the restaurant will be very happy that you have chosen it.
Feel, be and act like a professional
Even if you are not a qualified professional, you must behave as such so that whoever is interested in what you sell is willing to pay you without knowing you, and to feel safe and supported when doing so.
In the world of electronic commerce, things are not how you want them to be, but how the customer expects them to be.
Maybe you have images that you think are good and efficient, but you see that time passes and no one or very few people are interested in your products. What is failing?
Your professional outlook on your own business is surely failing.
It does not matter how many years of experience you have selling in the field and the knowledge you have about your activity.
The experience of selling online
It is important that you understand that selling online is a totally different experience than selling in a commercial place, where people enter, choose, point, touch, ask, talk and finally buy.
You can have many years of commercial experience with your store and realize that you are not doing well in the virtual world, and that can discourage you.
You just have to understand that they are two very different things, and try to adapt to both sales methods.
If you are a great seller and take care of the details of your products in your store, you should also do it in your online store.
I advise you to invest time and money in creating images and / or videos conscientiously and with criteria, where you can show your products in the best possible way.
Always go to a trained graphic designer or a professional product photographer, who will surely have a much more competent look to understand your requirements, and carry them out in the best way.
Always remember that the fact that you have a good digital camera with many megapixels does not make you a photographer, and that taking a publicity photo to sell a product or service goes much further than focusing and pressing the shutter.
A friend who helps you with “cool low priced” photos is not a photographer, a friend who takes beautiful photos on his travels is not a photographer, a friend who publishes thousands of photos on his networks is not a photographer either.
And believe it or not, a professional photographer who works at social events such as parties and baptisms is not a product photographer either.
Photographing products to sell involves other factors such as lighting, framing, background, environment, detail.
But above all, it implies having the criteria and the professional look, the knowledge of the target to whom it is directed, and the way to open the channel of attention and interest of potential buyers.
That is why I advise you to consult a professional and do not skimp on costs, since if the images are of poor quality, everything else will be on the way to failure.
DIY: Do it yourself!
If your budget is not enough to hire a professional and you dare to take the photos yourself, arm yourself with a good camera, a lot of time and patience. Trial and error are the best teachers.
I recommend that you do some courses in Product Photography and Photoshop, which will surely open up the panorama for you and you can make the most of your camera.
There are many very good and free tutorials on the web that will be very useful to you.
Do not abuse mobile apps, since most of them are designed for social photography and not for products, and they automate tasks that should not be automatic but specific for each image.
Some technical tips
If you decide to do without a good photographer and venture to do the work yourself, here are some suggestions.
Reflex cameras are the best for photographing products, since they have multiple focal lengths and allow working depth of field and focus with excellent results, but they are very expensive and you have to know how to use them.
If you cannot get a reflex camera, use a good pocket camera or your cell phone camera, although you will obtain lower quality photographs, but if you treat them with criteria you can obtain very good results at a very low cost.
Avoid using the macro function of the camera, unless you need to show very small and complex detail.
The same advice is valid for zooming, especially if you use the cell phone camera, since they lose definition.
In all cases I advise you to use a tripod to hold the camera and always keep the same distance from the objects to be photographed.
Whether you sell cars or homemade crafts, you should display them with an advertising marketing concept.
Never display a photographed product on the floor or kitchen counter, and be very careful what you see in the background.
I challenge you to find what items are left over in the following images.
Backgrounds are quality determinants
The background can be removed or changed only if the product image is good and if you have knowledge of Photoshop. Do not ask Photoshop for miracles, because if the image is bad, you cannot do much to achieve good results.
The same product with a different background creates very different climates.
If you are selling furniture or large items, try to make sure the setting and lighting are appropriate.
Choose the right environment
If you cannot access a showroom with a good setting, try taking the photo with soft and even lighting, edit the image with Photoshop and remove the background.
The important thing is to create a good composition and that the product looks good.
Never choose environments out of context of the product you sell. If they are indoor products, they must be photographed indoors, and vice versa.
The settings must be clean and tidy, removing any object that is not related to the product.
Never photograph products in full sunlight as they generate extreme lights and harsh shadows.
Attention to detail
If you photograph metallic, mirrored or highly polished and shiny objects, take good care of what is reflected on the surface. Many times the photographer himself, or objects in the environment that have nothing to do with the product, are reflected without realizing it.
The objects must be clean and free of fingerprints. Also take care that there are no traces of fibers and lint when cleaning it with cloths, since in the photos you can see everything.
Try to shoot with even light that casts soft shadows on the background.
Hard shadows are not aesthetic and often become part of the object.
If you're shooting outside, avoid direct sunlight or filtered through trees. Partly cloudy days are best for shooting outdoors.
Avoid using direct flash on objects as they can produce unnecessary glare and harsh shadows.
If you are going to photograph small objects, I advise you to buy a light box. It will solve many aspects of lighting and environment at a low cost.
Controls aperture and white balance, avoiding overexposure, which gives the appearance of a "burned-out photo," or underexposure that becomes too dark.
Never use a photo on the web as you get it from the camera because there is a lot of information that is not necessary, and neither the format, nor the size, nor the framing will be adequate.
Many times the images take on color tones from the environment that must be neutralized, and reflections that must be corrected.
Here you will need knowledge of Photoshop to correct lights, tones, framing, cuts and graphic resolution.
Image cropping and resolution
I suggest you use square photos (Instagram type) to give general harmony to the store. If you alternate vertical and landscape photos, the grid becomes disorganized and the general design of the store loses aesthetics.
If you have vertically arranged photos, you may be able to extend the background to the sides until you get a square ratio.
You should always seek harmony and coherence with all the photos, that gives the store "personality" and visual quality.
Never use a resolution higher than 72 dpi since the screens do not read higher resolutions and the file size increases a lot and therefore, the download time on the web.
I hope you liked this article and it served to clarify your doubts about how to photograph the products for your online store.
If you consider that I am a qualified professional to carry out your projects, do not hesitate to contact me.
I invite you to read my other posts, share them, and leave your comment if you wish.
Adrián Pablo Conti
I am a Graphic and Web Designer graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (FADU-UBA)
Since 1993 I have run Web4, my own freelance graphic and web design creative studio, located in the City of Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Me I specialize in the development of visual identity, institutional communication, web sites and online stores, editorial design, catalogs, magazines and packaging design, among others.
All images shown in this article were obtained from the web for illustrative purposes and belong to their respective authors.
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